Martha Violett, DMA
Emeritus Professor of Music
Martha Watson Violett is Emeritus Professor of Music and teaches piano and class piano. Before retiring in 2010, she was Chair of the Music Department at Western and taught piano, music history, seminar in music research and music courses in the general education liberal arts program.
Violett holds the Permanent Professional Certificate in Piano from the Music Teachers National Association and is a member of the Colorado State Music Teachers Association and the MTNA.
Violett holds the BME in Vocal Education from Illinois Wesleyan University with a performance major in piano and minors in voice and harpsichord. She received the M.A. and MFA degrees in Piano Performance and the DMA in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa where studies of piano and chamber music were with James Avery and John Simms. She was the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship for piano study with Carl Seemann at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, (West) Germany. She also studied musicology and piano at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Her doctoral dissertation, “The Solo Piano Music of Xavier Montsalvatge,” was inspired by a long-term interest in the music of Spain, especially of 20th-century composers. Research involved analysis and study of his compositions for piano and other genres and extensive communication with Montsalvatge, a well-respected and influential Catalonian composer living in Barcelona. She was invited by musician friends in Barcelona to present a recital of all his solo piano music at the Luthier School under the sponsorship of the Associació Catalana de Compositors as part of the year-long musical celebrations of Montsalvatge’s 80th birthday in 1992-93.
Violett began her college teaching career at Western, where she has been a member of the Music faculty since 1972. She has been active during that time as a performer of solo and chamber music with Western faculty and guest performers.
In addition to teaching, Violett enjoys traveling and outdoor activities, including hiking and participating in races and fun runs in the Gunnison-Crested Butte area. She and her late husband, Ted Violett, who was a Professor of Physics at Western, especially enjoyed hiking in the Gunnison area and adopted a section of the Colorado Trail near Gunnison. Travels have taken them to Switzerland on a trekking excursion and to Prince Edward Island where they walked the Confederation Trail from tip to tip.